After vaccinating more than 112,500 teachers and school staff in about three weeks, Governor Tom Wolf visited Luzerne County to announce the special vaccination initiative was completed ahead of schedule. This is an important step to help more students and teachers safely return to classrooms across the state.
“This is a great success, and I am so proud of everyone who made it happen,” said Gov. Wolf. “We know that teachers and students want to be back in the classroom where students can learn, laugh and grow with their friends. Completing our special vaccination initiative is a big milestone for Pennsylvania, one that will better protect schools, families and communities.
“Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to this pandemic, and with the completion of this special initiative, we are one step closer to the end of that tunnel. That is something for everyone in the commonwealth to celebrate.”
The governor held a press conference at Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18 and was joined by its executive director, Dr. Tony Grieco, Education Secretary Noe Ortega, PSEA President Rich Askey, Northwest Area Junior-Senior High School teacher Vito Malacari and other legislators and stakeholders.
“As Executive Director of one of the 28 intermediate units across Pennsylvania that hosted vaccination clinics for school personnel, I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to Governor Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force for providing a plan for Pennsylvania’s school personnel to receive a vaccine,” said Grieco.
“This is a turning point in the lives of our schools and our students here in Pennsylvania, and PSEA’s members are so excited about what lies ahead,” Askey said. “Some schools are reopening their doors after many months of remote instruction, while many more are expanding their schedules to bring students back into the classroom more days of the week.
“This is happening thanks to everyone who took decisive action one month ago to get vaccines out to those school employees who want them. You have helped ensure a safer environment for in-person instruction in our schools — protecting the health of educators, support professionals, students, and their families.”
The Pennsylvania National Guard and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare coordinated hundreds of heath care professionals at 28 vaccine clinics across the state to put the shots into arms. Many of the vaccine clinics were held on evenings and weekends so students could continue learning during the school day without interruption.